Happy Hell Night (1992)

Oh Canada. We’ve celebrated your movies for an entire week and you continue to deliver pure blasts of polite insanity to our streaming devices and DVD players!

Halloween night 1966. A priest named Zachary Malius kills seven frat boys from Winfield College for breaking into his family’s crypt and recreating an occult ritual. He’s placed into an insane asylum, where the laws in Canada are, well, insane. He’s never fed and has been in a catatonic state for years, surviving by eating bugs.

Kids have learned nothing in the intervening quarter century as they go right back and do the ritual again. Malius comes back to life and starts doing what slasher villains do best — wipe out people right after they get done having sex. At least he has the excuse of being a priest. One wonders why they decided to make him like Freddy Kruger, yelling things like, “No sex! No TV! No parking!” That said, the fact that the Catholic Church covered up these crimes should come as a shock to no one.

Sam Rockwell shows up briefly as the younger version of the character that Darren McGavin plays for the rest of the film. Jorja Fox from TV’s CSI also shows up.

Director Brian Owens is also behind 80’s video fave Brainscan. There is one genuinely unnerving scene where a crucified Christ comes to life and starts screaming, then falls to the floor and breaks into small pieces. Shades of Enter the Devil!

There are moments of slow motion flashbacks and hints of art here that are undermined by horrible looking titles. It’s like his movie got only so close to being well art directed. It’s not the best or worst slasher ever, but it won me over. Maybe I was watching it at 2:30 AM, which always helps matters.

You can get the Code Red blu ray of this movie at Diabolik DVD or stream it on Amazon Prime.

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